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Reputation Monitoring – The First Step in Preserving the Reputation of Your Business Online

A business’ name and the brand that it represents are its most valuable assets.

Every day, someone is discussing something that is important to a business, its competition or its industry. With the advent of the Internet those comments are pervasive and immediately available online.

Is the discussion positive?

Does the dialog help to reinforce the business reputation?

Or is the discussion critical of the business’ service or complains loudly about its products?

A business’ reputation, often taking years and millions of dollars to build, can be destroyed, or at least seriously damaged, by one disgruntled customer or well-connected blogger.

A business reputation, therefore, is key and management needs to be aware of any threats so that they can respond appropriately and in doing so can manage and protect the reputation of the enterprise.

Reputation monitoring involves tracking all actions of an entity (in this case a business) and the reactions and opinions of others to those actions.

By keeping track of those actions and opinions and by reacting to change them when necessary, a feedback loop is created. This feedback loop is an open dialog, which can be used to maintain a business’ standing in the marketplace.

Reputation monitoring enables complex tracking of opinions over multiple criteria and data points by leveraging the power of computers and the Internet. In the end, reputation monitoring seeks to preserve a business’ trustworthiness; a quality which is pivotal in all types of human interaction including not only business, but also politics and diplomacy.

A number of reputation monitoring services providers have automated the task of monitoring comments about a business across the Internet. These services connect a firm’s stakeholders, track mechanisms of engagement and analyze, measure and manage the results of this interaction. The only problem is that it is not easy to automate these tasks. The best solutions are operated by teams of business and industry analysts and therefore end up being cost prohibitive for most situations.

But there is a solution that can make reputation monitoring far less complicated and costly.

Reputation monitoring is all about discovering new discussions related to a business and its brands. These discussions take place in comments posted to articles, blogs and other consumer generated media.

Once those discussions have been discovered, then it is important to manage the discussions by contributing and monitoring them accordingly.

As such, reputation management is what is done with the results of reputation monitoring. In most cases, reputation management can be reduced to simply making timely responses to negative comments as soon as they are found.

A business should already be present in the discussion forums of the industry of which it is a part. So as a business’ use of reputation monitoring matures, the universe of monitoring targets becomes easier to identify and manage. This is especially true when a business subscribes to a service that automates monitoring websites for content changes.

In other words, business managers are probably already familiar with most of places online where their company or brand is being, or likely to be, discussed. In which case, reputation monitoring can be greatly simplified by leveraging automated web content monitoring services like those provided by ChangeDetect.

The next step is only a matter of identifying and responding to negative comments.

When responding to negative comments it is important to be straightforward and honest – sometime it is better to admit fault (if that is the case) and outline a remedy rather than denying that which is true. This could be truth in fact or “truth” in the minds of a sometimes fickle consumers.

Reputation monitoring and management is a vital aspect of communication with your users and customers and ensures that, when there is an issue, you are prompt with the right response that will maintain your good standing in the marketplace.

For monitoring online content for relevant changes, sign up for a free trial at ChangeDetect – http://www.changedetect.com/

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